Light Therapy for the Skin

by Ezmeralda Lee ; Updated September 28, 2017

Today, more and more people feel the need to look their best; this includes having beautifully smooth and flawless skin. One method to achieve this is light therapy. This method evolved because of the belief that sunlight could help cure acne. It is important, however, to understand the pros and cons of therapy for the skin, before beginning this regime.


Light therapy is a form of skin treatment used to battle signs of aging and the visual effects of psoriasis, acne and other unsightly skin conditions. During light therapy the skin is exposed to different types of light for a distinct period. This is done at a dermatologist's office, spa, or in the home. The smaller home models of light therapy are usually hand-held and, though not as powerful as the bigger more professional ones, are more convenient than a trip to the dermatologist, and can sometimes fix mild skin problems without the price tag of the professional models.


Light therapy for skin aging and renewal varies based on the types of light used. For acne, these include blue-light therapy, pulsed light and heat therapy, and light and 5 - aminolevulinic acid (ALA). These lights are used in different sequences and time lengths to kill the bacteria that helps feed and spread acne. Red light and near infrared light are both used to treat the signs of skin aging, including wrinkles, collagen production and skin elasticity.

Time Frame

With some types of acne light therapy, several sessions are needed to produce the effect. In addition, those with psoriasis or another skin condition may need extra sessions to fight off recurring outbreaks. Generally, however, a single light session will last from 15 to 20 minutes. Some lower intensity light therapy sessions may last longer, such as those administered at a spa.


Though light therapy can work wonders on the skin, it is important to know that the price will be steep, especially for those who have to return for multiple visits. These sessions can range from $100 to $500 or more dollars per session. Even the at-home products will most likely be costly. The average machine can cost up to $500.

Expert Insight

Though you may suffer from acne or signs of aging, it is important to discuss your options with your dermatologist before buying or investing in light therapy. A professional may be able to recommend a stronger than usual cream or gel to use for acne or aging as a more economical option. A professional may also be able to give you his opinion on whether or not he feels you even need light therapy treatment.

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